Robert Downey Jr. has played his share of nut jobs, but this is likely the first time he's ever taken a nut job.
In an ad that has just debuted on a Mr. Peanut Facebook page prior to spreading to screens big and small, Downey Jr. voices the fashionably remade legume as part of a $30-million-plus "character revitalization" campaign, according to Planters and its parent company, Kraft Foods.
The new ad features the 94-year-old Mr. Peanut as if he'd been made over for a Wes Anderson stop-motion animation: The suave snack-mascot still sports his trademark monocle, gloves and cane, but he now flaunts a snug, flannel suit jacket and a darker shell, as he's surrounded by woodland creatures in a party chock full of autumnal tones.
"At Planters, we know how to throw a remarkable holiday party," Mr. Peanut says in the ad. "Just serve classy snacks and be a gracious host -- no matter who shows up."
Accompanied by new friend Benson -- a single-nut sidekick -- Mr. Peanut must fend off party guest Richard the Nutcracker. Fortunately, judging by his bandaged noggin, Mr. Peanut just a week earlier proved a tough nut to crack.
"Well, forgive and forget," Mr. Peanut says before wielding his cane like a weapon -- lodging it into Richard's lethal mouth -- and cracking wise as he escapes a social jam.
Planters's new slogan is "Naturally remarkable."
Mr. Peanut has a rich history with ad agencies. Responding to a 1916 Planters Peanuts contest, a 14-year-old boy named Antonio Gentile created a "peanut person" mascot that an ad agency turned into the trademarked Mr. Peanut, from spats to hat.